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Medical Issues and Weight Loss

Thursday, January 23, 2014

For the last few days, I've gone without sleep. None. It's now January 23rd around 1:30am. The last time I slept was Monday, January 20th. I got about four hours of sleep that night. This has to do with hyperparathyroidism, which is a disease that causes high blood calcium levels. Until I was diagnosed with this condition, I didn't have any idea exactly how much calcium affects the body.

For the last several years, I've complained to my doctor about pain in my hips. It's not a "little" pain. It's severe pain that keeps getting worse. As a result of my complaints, she has x-rayed them a couple of times. It has come back as "mild to moderate" arthritis...nothing that wouldn't be expected for a woman my age.

This left me with questions...the main question being: "Why is it that my hips hurt, but my knees really don't bother me much?" It made sense to me that knee pain would come before hip pain due to the pounds per square inch on the knees being so much more than the pressure per square inch on the hips.

I wasn't sure what else to do. I'd informed the doctor. She responded in a reasonable manner. Life went on and I continued to have more and more hip pain. I went in and had a complete metabolic panel done. It came back indicating a high blood calcium level. As it turns out, 99.8% of individuals who have high calcium levels have this condition.

Hyperparathyroidism is a condition where one (or more) of the parathyroid glands starts secreting too much parathyroid hormone (PTH). It grows and turns into a tumor (usually benign, thank goodness!). The thyroid is a gland, in and of itself. It is shaped kind of like a butterfly. There are four parathyroid glands, one underneath of each of the four lobes of the thyroid gland. The parathyroid glands' sole purpose are to tightly regulate the body's blood calcium level. When too much PTH is secreted by the parathyroid, the body pulls calcium out of the bones. This causes osteopenia and eventually osteoporosis. As it turns out, the pain I'm feeling is the process of my body pulling calcium out of my bones.

There are many symptoms of hyperparathyroidism, which include (the symptoms I've had have a hyphen in front of them:
-Frequent headaches
-Loss of appetite
Abdominal pain
-Excessive thirst
-Excessive urination
-Bone pain
Muscle aches
-High blood pressure
-Emotional behavior
-Impaired thinking
-Impaired memory
Thinning bones (?)
Risk of fractures (?)
-Hypercalcemia (elevated blood calcium levels)
-Mood changes
-Kidney stones

I've had many of these symptoms on and off for the last several years. I thought the pain and memory problems were my age "catching up" with me. I thought my moodiness, confusion, and headaches were due to early menopause. And I thought the kidney stones were just an inherited thing since my father has had them many times. All the other symptoms, I just passed off as age-related. While I wasn't exactly sure why I have been having headaches and insomnia, I surely wouldn't have thought it was caused by high calcium levels!

The insomnia has me awake again tonight... so I thought I'd write a blog about this and my concerns about it. Who knows...maybe someone else out there might read this and get something out of it.

Even though I haven't been sleeping, I'm in good spirits. I'm so grateful for that! Thank you, Lord! I'm hoping to get the tumor removed and get back to work very soon. I need to have at least a part-time job to help my family make ends meet. Right now, I'm doing mystery shopping and some other at-home endeavors that I think have great potential to help my family long term. I'm really excited about it!

I'm working on accentuating the positive... working on my businesses pretty much full time to help with finances (or at least to feel like I'm contributing to the greater good). :-) It's funny...I have the loss of appetite sometimes, usually at the same time as the headaches come. Then, for a few days, I will graze all day because I'm so hungry...so the weight loss/gain kind of evens out in the end, I suppose.

I just try to keep some healthy food choices around for when the graze cravings hit me. Bananas...they're my absolute favorite, referred to many as 'nature's candy bar'. That's the perfect description, isn't it?! Also, I tend to like to mix a little salt in with my sweets, so I keep potatoes or baked potato chips on hand. I'm trying to take steps to make sure that my weight loss is a healthy one, even though I have days when I don't want to eat and others that I want to eat everything. On "starving" days, I make myself eat protein bars and drink lots of water. Then, on grazing days, I keep healthier snacks around (trying to stay away from fried and sugary foods). Wish me luck! I hope that after this tumor is gone that I don't become ravenous and want to eat the entire east side of Indy. LOL! That's a concern. I guess when that storm comes, I'll batten down the hatches, and ready myself for the storm with a lot of positive self-talk, healthy food choices, and LOTS of non-food rewards for when I beat back the big winds that will come!

I'm going to win this one... I need to. I feel too good about the 204 pounds that I've lost so far
to gain it back. My favorite treat for myself is going shopping and purchasing a piece of clothing in a size smaller than I've purchased previously. For instance...recently, I was able to purchase a size 14 jacket dress. It's still a little tight on me, so I'm not confident enough yet to wear it out in public, but by golly, I can get it on...and I can even sit down in it. LOL...that's an important part. ;-)

What's motivating to me when I need to turn away from food due to shadow hunger? There's nothing in the world that feels better to me than fitting into a smaller size...being able to look into the mirror and see the slimmer tummy or the comparitavely slender ankles. I'm not a size five. I won't ever be. I'm really good with that. I'd like to get down to a size 12. I think I'd be really happy with that and I think I'd feel GREAT! I'm not sure what weight that will take me down to, but I know what I envision it looking like in the mirror.

Well, all...thank you for "staying up with me" through this bout of insomnia. I'm starting to yawn! YAY! Maybe I'll be able to lie down and get some sleep tonight. In any case, thank you for accompanying me through my little trek in my mind about this illness, how it affects my hunger, the long-term affect it will have on me, and how I'm going to battle back the munchies when the big storm hits. Even though you may not know me...you've helped me just by being here to read my thoughts - scary as they may be! :-).

Love and good health to all,

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  • no profile photo CD14234676
    In 2008 I went to a surgeon for breast surgery, I had two tumors on my left breast. The surgeon also told me I has thyroid trouble. I always thought that lump I was seeing in my neck was just fat. After a five hour surgery it was discovered my thyroid had cancer and they removed all of my thyroid and the two tumors on my breast. I had to take two treatments, of swallowing the radiation pills and since then I'm fine. I do suffer with hip pain something awful as I have been plagued with arthritis since my early 30's.
    Next time I see my arthritis doctor I'm going to do some asking about some of these symptoms because I have several. Thank you for this blog it was very enlightening to me.

    2468 days ago
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  • PATTYR81
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    2472 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2712264
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  • LAELL303
    It never ceases to amaze at how tiny little glands like the parathyroid glands, or even the thyroid itself can wreak so much havoc on a body!

    I understand what you have been going through (I have Graves). You have such an amazingly positive attitude which really helps when living with these issues!!

    I hope surgery goes well and you recover quickly!
    2473 days ago
    My Aunt was diagnosed with this after many years of issues. Thank you for the information. Wishing you all the best!!
    2473 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Wow Tina, you are doing incredible in spite of your health challenges! Very well done on that amazing weight loss! Your great attitude will have you getting in that smaller size soon!
    Wishing you all the best with the surgery, hope they get everything and allow you to return to normal functioning!
    Keep up the great work!
    2473 days ago
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